Meet a Reader: Maddie Mangieri

I’m delighted to feature Maddie Mangieri as a “Reader” here and in The Catholic Post this month.  I met Maddie last summer when she was an enthusiastic and terrific member of one of the Totus Tuus teams in our diocese.  Thanks, Maddie, for sharing your love of reading here.

Maddie Mangieri

How you know me:

I will graduate in May from Illinois State University with a bachelor’s in speech-language pathology. In the fall, I will begin a two-year graduate program. I was a teacher this past summer for Totus Tuus, a summer evangelization program that brings teams of four college-aged young adults to parishes to teach the youth about the Catholic faith for a week. I’m still going back and forth with the Lord on whether or not I will return this summer. My parents, Sam and Peggy, live in Galesburg, and my brother, Sam, is a seminarian for the diocese of Peoria. He’s studying at Mount Saint Mary’s Seminary in Maryland.

Why I love reading:

I’ve always been a big reader. It started when I was in Catholic middle school. My English teacher, Mrs. Watkins, taught me how to “dig in”, if you will, and analyze the characters and plots. I took well to the Harry Potter series, which helped me to expand my vocabulary a great deal. Since college, however, textbooks have become my main focus, but I have been able to squeeze in some spiritual reading during my holy hours. For me, it’s the idea that I can escape from reality for a bit, or learn how to be a better version of myself based on the examples of the saints, or dive deeper into the mystery of our Catholic faith. When I settle in with a good read, I am taken to a quiet place of my own.

What I’m reading now:

I’m currently reading The Practice of the Presence of God
by Brother Lawrence. It’s about a French monk from the 1600s who developed a constant union with God that was rooted in the everyday practicalities of life. He continually spoke to God during every activity, at every moment, of every day. He felt that this was best way for his heart to draw closer to Christ. His witness has been influential in my life, and I’ve begun speaking in the quiet place of my heart more often, striving to find myself in His presence always.

My favorite book:

My favorite book is one that I haven’t actually finished yet. The Imitation of Christ by Thomas à Kempis is somewhat like a handbook on how to live as Jesus did. It’s not a book you want to sit down and read cover to cover in one sitting, or even in a few days for that matter. The Imitation is too rich to just zip through the pages. I’ve found that reading it in small doses allows me to meditate on the small, yet meaningful messages. Little by little, I can try to make my life an imitation of the One who created me.

I also really enjoy “The Hunger Games” series, so if you’re looking for some adventure and suspense, I highly suggest those.